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Context: Channel enjoys growth in H1

The analyst house has shared the headline findings from its extensive channel survey and found that distribution in particular is in rude health

The last year and a half has been a largely positive one for the channel with analysts talking up the prospects for distributors and resellers.

Last October saw Steve Brazier, president and CEO of Canalys, use his keynote at the firm's European Channel Forum to declare that things were going well and the channel was enjoying its best time for years and the chances are he will echo that again at the event in Spain next month.

In the meantime there is more evidence of how the year is progressing for distribution with Context revealing that the sector has grown by 5% in the first half of 2018.

Not only has distribution reported growth but the analyst house found that resellers in most countries were optimistic about the next 12 months, more so than they were a year ago.

The Context ChannelWatch 2018 report surveyed resellers across 14 countries, including the UK and mainland Europe.

Brexit uncertianty caused the UK to buck the reseller optimism trend, with optimism about the year ahead lower than it was in 2017.

There were also signs in the report that the number of resellers had stabilised after a 3% decline last year. Just shy of half of the firms surveyed had been going for more than 15 years, underlining that this is a mature market.

Drilling down into where the channel growth is coming from business services topped the list. It changes depending on area with manufacturing strong in the UK and Eastern Europe expecting retail to deliver the growth.

“It’s reassuring to see the IT channel as a whole in pretty good health as we head into the second half of 2018,” said Adam Simon, global managing director at Context.

“However, despite the optimism in the market for the coming 12 months, challenges persist: not least in areas like financing, staff recruitment and retention, GDPR compliance and the threat to distribution posed by etailers,” he added.

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